During a ride-and-drive event last summer introducing several new high-performance tires aimed at the street tuner or ``sport compact'' vehicle market, Yokohama Tire Corp. provided the following statistics, based, in part, on tire manufacturers' data on the tuner market:
* The segment's total sales comprised 200,000 tires in 1997.
* By 2001 that number had grown to 942,000 units.
* The number of units sold in 2002 was expected to surpass 1 million units, based on the January to April pace.
What tuners drivers are looking for:
* Make their vehicles fast or at least look fast.
* Personalize their car to reflect their personality.
* Give their vehicles a distinct look through such things as a special paint job, a big tire-wheel combo and other accessories that grab attention.